Monday, April 15, 2024

Shia LaBeouf Will Star in Ed Zwick-Directed Film About Man Accused of Killing His 3 Children


You can say this for Shia LaBeouf: he doesn’t shy away from tough roles or movies. He’s agreed to star in “Trial by Fire,” directed by Ed Zwick. This is based on the New Yorker story by David Grann about a man who was accused of setting a fire that killed his three children.

Todd Willingham maintained his innocence up til the end. But he was eventually sent to death row and finally put to death by lethal injection.  Through it all he was championed by a playwright named Elziabeth Gilbert, who will be played by the great Laura Dern. Gilbert has her own drama in the story– as Willingham was sent to death row, Gilbert was in a terrible automobile accident.

Since Willingham’s death, Gilbert– now recovered– has been an ardent speaker on being against the death penalty. There have also been investigations into the forensic science used in Willingham’s case– he may  have been innocent, as he claimed, but we’ll never know. Certainly the movie will have a lot of leeway in that direction, much like last year’s “Making of a Murderer.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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